A year ago, mobile robotics company Boston Dynamics introduced a new prototype, Stretch, designed for warehouses and distribution centers. The robot is now commercially available but all units are already sold out through 2022 “due to strong pre-order demand from early adopter customers“, the company says in a statement. The next units are expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2024.
A Mobile Robot Designed for Warehouse Operations
Stretch is an autonomous mobile robot that is able to unload floor-loaded trailers and containers for use in warehouses. Equipped with a custom vacuum gripper, the robot can handle a wide range of package types, sizes, and cases up to 50 pounds.
Its advanced vision system enables Stretch to detect boxes and the container surroundings. The robot is for example able to autonomously recover any packages that may fall during unloading. The robot is capable of working more than a full shift on a single charge, or up to 16 hours with a high capacity battery option.
Stretch is designed to maneuver in and out of trucks and tight spaces in a warehouse. It can be installed within existing warehouse infrastructures in just a few days. It does not require any pre-programming of SKU numbers or information on box sizes. Stretch makes its decisions in real-time, without the need for explicit directions or supervision.
DHL, H&M, Performance Team Among First Customers
In a statement, Robert Playter, CEO of Boston Dynamics said:
“Labor shortages and supply chain snags continue to create challenges in keeping the flow of goods moving. Stretch makes logistics operations more efficient and predictable, and it improves safety by taking on one of the most physically demanding jobs in the warehouse. Many of our early adopter customers have already committed to deploying the robot at scale, so we are excited Stretch will soon be put to work more broadly, helping retailers and logistics companies handle the continued surging demand for goods.”
The robot is now available for purchase but all units are sold out for 2022. The company is now accepting reservations for deliveries between 2023 and 2024.